SAT, ACT requirements waved for incoming class of 2021

WSU looking at student transcripts to determine admission; no decision has been made for 2022



The trend has been to move away from standardized tests in admission and focus on a holistic process, like considering extracurricular activities, said Paul Francis, executive director of the Washington Council of Presidents.

MADYSEN MCLAIN, Evergreen roots editor

After College Board SAT tests were canceled across the country because of the pandemic, the Washington Council of Presidents worked with universities to dismiss SAT and ACT score requirements for the class of 2020 and class of 2021.

The council comprises six different public four-year colleges and universities, including WSU.

Paul Francis, council executive director, said admission directors at the council discussed challenges students faced with SAT and ACT testing early into the pandemic. 

“We realized the pandemic was going to be a longer-term event,” Francis said.

The Washington Student Achievement Council set minimum admission requirements, like a 2.0 GPA, while individual universities set their own specifications, he said.

About 2.2 million high school seniors graduating in 2020 took the College Board SAT, which is similar to 2019 statistics, according to the College Board 2020 assessment results. However, the majority took the exam before the pandemic caused closures. 

Saichi Oba, WSU vice provost for enrollment management, said the university used the prospective student’s transcript to determine admission for 2020. Counselors looked at their GPA, outcomes of certain courses and the types of classes taken.

A decision about the class of 2022 has not been made, Oba said.

Francis said the trend has been to move away from standardized tests in admission and focus on a holistic process, like considering extracurricular activities. 

“There has been concern about how students of color and other populations fare on those tests so I think that’s part of the national conversation,” he said. 

Oba said admission counselors have changed their strategy to communicate with potential students. Instead of going where the students are, like in the classroom or at college fairs, counselors hop on Zoom or phone calls. 

“There’s a lot of one-on-one contact going on with prospective students,” Oba said. “Some students even prefer picking up the phone and talking to a counselor.”

High school students, with some exceptions, are not in an in-person school setting where they could speak with teachers or guidance counselors about college decisions, he said.

Oba said the WSU Office of the Provost is conducting institutional research to get a sense of what to expect for the class of 2021 by looking at the students who applied, who was admitted and how well they will do once they start attending WSU.

From there, the university can determine if the SAT or ACT is a predictor of student success for those at WSU, he said.

“I think that COVID-19 definitely caused disruption for the application cycle that we’re used to,” Oba said. “We’re hearing that from around the state.”